"I was diagnosed with clinical depression in my mid-20s. Binge eating was a big part of my depressive episodes, along with sleep issues and fatigue - a perfect storm for weight gain. I had always been chubby in my teen years, but had eventually ballooned from 170 to 220 pounds. I began to experience other health problems related to my weight. In October 2015, I was let go from my job as an executive assistant. ... I was missing many days of work, under a dark cloud that kept me trapped in my bed. When I did drag myself in, I was performing far under my ability and was too demoralized and embarrassed to seek real medical help. Getting fired was a huge wake-up call. I was 30, feeling like a loser and deeply unhappy. ... I realized that if I didn't take the steps to gain control over my mental and physical health, it would only get worse."
She cut refined sugar, carbs and alcohol. "I was eating real food and as I started to feel better about what I was eating, I was ready to introduce exercise."
"I applied for a scholarship to the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, which they graciously awarded. ...I fastidiously worked out, first on the stationary bike, then the elliptical, at least three days a week. ... Working out brought me back to life."
During my weight-loss journey, I also met the love of my life. He always supports me, he is immensely proud of me, and he even loves my stretch marks, which he calls my battle scars.
"The hardest part was staying social ... but staying engaged with my friends and family is good for my mental health. So, I'm happy to drink (sparkling water) while others drink beer."
"I'm now at 150 pounds - from a size 20 to a size 10. ... The school where I was substituting hired me full time. ... I went from exhausted and dull ... to rising at 5:45 a.m. to do Pilates.